Great Lakes Walleye 101

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Singing Bridge
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby Singing Bridge » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:29 pm

More technique on Great Lakes Walleye-

In this example we have you trolling for walleye on one of the Great Lakes- you manage to hook a fish... what now???

We certainly do not want to fight a walleye like a mature salmon- no "pump and reel" here, in other words. Steady, even pressure on the fish is the name of the game. Keep a bend in the rod, and do not move the rod in a way that will give the fish slack.

Steady and even presssure with a bend in the rod- along with no slack at any time- will lead to a much higher percentage of fish in the boat from the time of hookup.

Even though it is more efficient to have the fishermen in my boat reel the fish in to the back of the boat, on the anglers side and out of the prop wash, I ask everyone to reel the fish in on the side of the boat instead. I have them keep the rod low to the water to keep the fish "in the water." When you start breaking the surface with the fish or dragging him across it... you are asking to lose the fish by it becoming unhooked. The reason I have them bring the fish in to the side of the boat is because most guys forget about the first part of this post and put too much pressure on. If I don't have them bring the fish in on the side and they bring the fish up off the stern instead... too much pressure results in flying hooks into the boat and me ducking them (or worse) when the fish gets off. Having the fish brought up to the side of my boat eliminates this problem.

A discussion of "netting" Great Lakes walleye is yet to come!


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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby Singing Bridge » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:13 am

When we were discussing walleye fishing with the budget minded angler in mind, I also failed to express the impact of motor types. For example, 4 stroke engines get excellent fuel economy and are very quiet-important considerations if you are considering the purchase of a new or used walleye boat. My 4 stroke engine and fuel tank will last me about 4 Great Lakes trips on a tank of gas. I can't hardly stand to be under a half tank so I never let it get that low... but my setup is very economical. Remember, with my autopilot electric trolling motor being used almost the entire time I fish, I save a ton of money on fuel. If I ran my main gas engine all day long I'd have to spend a lot more money, even with the 4 stroke engine. I only use the gas engine to get from one destination point to another. The combination of the powerful electric and the 4stroke main engine have saved me many, many thousands of dollars over the years. The only thing my electric motor really costs me is the effort it takes to plug in the extension cord to the triple bank charger when I get home. It uses so little electricity I see no impact on my utility bill.

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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby C&T Archery » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:41 pm

Heading out to the bay of Green Bay on the lower end for the first time. Going to try to figure this lake out and the only way to do is get on it and start fishing. I will try and take pictures and post on here.
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:54 am

Good Luck C & T- Put the smackdown on them Walters!!
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:37 am

Singing Bridge wrote:More technique on Great Lakes Walleye-

In this example we have you trolling for walleye on one of the Great Lakes- you manage to hook a fish... what now???

We certainly do not want to fight a walleye like a mature salmon- no "pump and reel" here, in other words. Steady, even pressure on the fish is the name of the game. Keep a bend in the rod, and do not move the rod in a way that will give the fish slack.

Steady and even presssure with a bend in the rod- along with no slack at any time- will lead to a much higher percentage of fish in the boat from the time of hookup.

Even though it is more efficient to have the fishermen in my boat reel the fish in to the back of the boat, on the anglers side and out of the prop wash, I ask everyone to reel the fish in on the side of the boat instead. I have them keep the rod low to the water to keep the fish "in the water." When you start breaking the surface with the fish or dragging him across it... you are asking to lose the fish by it becoming unhooked. The reason I have them bring the fish in to the side of the boat is because most guys forget about the first part of this post and put too much pressure on. If I don't have them bring the fish in on the side and they bring the fish up off the stern instead... too much pressure results in flying hooks into the boat and me ducking them (or worse) when the fish gets off. Having the fish brought up to the side of my boat eliminates this problem.

A discussion of "netting" Great Lakes walleye is yet to come!


Extra Addition- many anglers are using inline boards to fish for Great Lakes Walleye. They often make necessary a pretty tight drag to keep more line from going out while in the rod holder. When fighting a fish and after taking the inline board off, loosen your drag a touch. After landing countless thousands of walleyes over the years while trolling, I have watched most walleye spook because of the boat during that last 10 - 15 feet of retrieval. If its a toad (huge walleye) and your drag is set too tight... bad things can happen. So, loosen that drag a bit, so that a brute has the ability to pull a little line out. This can prevent broken leaders, bent hooks and the opportunity for the fish to fight against an unyielding force... which gives them additional leverage to throw the hook.
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:59 am

NETTING Great Lakes Walleye

It is often best if the most experienced angler in the boat does the netting which will keep fewer fish from being lost. In fact, most fish are lost at the net. Here are some pointers aimed at helping you lose fewer fish:

** Take two nets in your boat. If you get into a big school of Great Lakes walley it isn't all that uncommon to hook three or more fish at once. I have no trouble landing a couple in the same net if they aren't overly large, but if one of them's big or you already have two in the net with a third on the way, that second net comes in very handy. Outside of that, 2 fish on and two nets in the boat = efficiency in getting the walleye in the cooler.

** I try not to lay the net down flat in the boat with a fish in it if possible- when you do the fish goes crazy and starts flopping around- getting all the different hooks caught up and twisted in the net, creating a mess and a lot of extra time to get it cleared. An experienced walleye handler can get the hooks out without the mess by using needle nose pliers, etc. If you aren't experienced, put the net down and deal with it. No need to get hooks in your hide.

** Get the fish close to the boat before trying to net it. Reaching way out to net them creates problems for the average Joe on the Great Lakes and you will lose fish for a variety of reasons. When you see Pro's on "THE NEXT BITE" or elsewhere reaching way out, they have the experience to make it worthwhile. No need to showboat, get the fish close and net it.

** I often let others in my boat reel in all the fish and I net them. Why? They have all the fun which is what I want ( I have landed countless thousands already) and with me on the net, a very high percentage of the fish hooked will end up in the boat. Out of the hundreds of walleye I have landed over the past couple of months I can only recall one that I FLAT OUT SCREWED UP WITH THE NET. Efficiency once again...

** If others will be netting, it is probably best to give a tutorial on technique prior to setting lines. Demonstrate how the rod should be held along with technique while bringing in a walleye (rod angle and location, for example). Follow this up with a quick netting demonstration. Most amateurs are going to club the walleye over the head with the net, pushing the fish off or getting the hooks caught on the outside of the net, etc. I always instruct the anglers to "net underneath the fish" with their netting motion. They can then lift up and we have what we are after! Otherwise they get caught up in the excitement and "net AT the fish" with the result being a likely disaster. I also demonstrate that the net should be kept out of the water until the ACTUAL NETTING MOTION is underway. Otherwise the net touches the water and gets ahead of the rim, with the netting motion getting the outside of the net caught on the hooks... which means your fish is caught on the outside of the net too!

This is off the top of my head, I'll add more as it comes up.
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby C&T Archery » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:02 am

Thanks SB--Just checked the weather--not looking good for the morning. But hopefully it changes :)
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby C&T Archery » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:47 am

Sorry for the late report, I didn't have computer access Saturday. Anyways we went out Friday morning on the bay for the first time. It was a fun and interesting trip. We ran crawler harnesses. Only ended up with 2 walleyes. 1 29" and 24". Sorry no pics as We kept our phones in a zip lock bag in a storage compartment as we fished in rain pretty much all morning along with a couple of down pours, where we couldn't even see our planer boards. We also caught 2 9 to 10 pound catfish and about 30 sheephead. Took us a lot of moving trying to find the walleyes. Wish we had more time. But we will be going back hopefully in a week or so
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby Singing Bridge » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:01 am

C&T Archery wrote:Sorry for the late report, I didn't have computer access Saturday. Anyways we went out Friday morning on the bay for the first time. It was a fun and interesting trip. We ran crawler harnesses. Only ended up with 2 walleyes. 1 29" and 24". Sorry no pics as We kept our phones in a zip lock bag in a storage compartment as we fished in rain pretty much all morning along with a couple of down pours, where we couldn't even see our planer boards. We also caught 2 9 to 10 pound catfish and about 30 sheephead. Took us a lot of moving trying to find the walleyes. Wish we had more time. But we will be going back hopefully in a week or so


Sounds like a couple of nice fish for your first trip there! Impressive!

Baaahh! Baaaaaaaahhh!! :shock:

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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby Bucky » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:15 pm

C&T.... Look up Vincent's Point on the East shore.... The humps directly West of it out in 11-13ft of water have been producing limits with harnesses.

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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby C&T Archery » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:58 am

That is where we wanted to go, but for the first time, with the winds the way they were, we tried to use the west shore as some protection. That will be my next trip Bucky.
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby mibowhunter » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:01 am

My father-in-law recently purchased a boat with an old fisher finder on it, and it does not show speed. When precision trolling for walleyes (or salmon for that matter) where speed is so crucial, is there a "cheap" way tell how fast you are moving without having to go out and buy a new fish finder? Handheld GPS (because I might be buying one for hunting anyway), iPhone app, etc?
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby C&T Archery » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:04 am

mibowhunter wrote:My father-in-law recently purchased a boat with an old fisher finder on it, and it does not show speed. When precision trolling for walleyes (or salmon for that matter) where speed is so crucial, is there a "cheap" way tell how fast you are moving without having to go out and buy a new fish finder? Handheld GPS (because I might be buying one for hunting anyway), iPhone app, etc?


I use a $99.00 Garmin GPS it's the yellow one. It shows speed and there is a huge difference from the GPS to my boat speed wheel especially at slow speeds. They run about the same when full throttle.
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby mibowhunter » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:08 pm

so it probably isn't the best idea to use a handheld GPS for speed at such slow speeds? Hmm....
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Re: Great Lakes Walleye 101

Postby Singing Bridge » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:05 pm

mibowhunter wrote:so it probably isn't the best idea to use a handheld GPS for speed at such slow speeds? Hmm....


Actually the opposite is true. The speed over ground function of a handheld GPS is much more accurate than the speed wheel on a boat. I have often used one of my handheld GPS units on my boat in a backup position to my unit that is connected to my graph directly from a GPS receiver.

The speed wheel on a boat can be impacted at slow speeds by trolling with / against the wind, surface currents, weeds in the mechanism, etc.
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